Just bought a tri bike and am looking for advice for how I should think about outfitting for hydration, food/nutrition storage and repair supplies (CO2, spare tube, etc.)
I don't want to turn this very light bike into an 18-wheeler hauling all kinds of junk around, but I also want to have enough storage for a half/full IM when I am ready for that (I am signed up for Eagleman, but havent yet contemplated a full IM yet).
Right now, I'm thinking that I need one of those seat post double water bottle holders as well as a seat post bag for repair supplies...but I have also seen those all-in-one jobs from x-labs that seem to perform double-duty (hydration and repair supply storage). Any thoughts here? And what about nutrition? Store on the bike or in my back pockets?
Thanks in advance!
What's wrong with looking like an 18 wheeler ? How else are people going to know that you are training for an IM/half IM if you don't haul all those things around ? :)
Hydration is a personal thing. Some people like having the aero bottles in the front while others dispise them. There are folks who like to add a second water cage to their frame to hold an extra water bottle. Some go for the bottles behind the seat post aka "rocket launchers." There are folks who wear camelbacks during IM races.
I vote the for the front of the bike aero bottles. Less work involved. All you have to do is move your mouth a couple of inches down to get fluids. There is no need to reach for anything and no worries about bottles flying off of the bike if you hit a pothole or crack in the road. Perhaps you can borrow one from someone to see how you like it because it can be an expensive mistake if you end up hating it. I find that I do a better job of hydrating if the straw is right there in front of my face. If I have to reach for a bottle, I get lazy once I get tired so I tend to not hydrate as much as I should.
For nutrition, you can tape the gels to your bike frame or use one of these http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1072112_-1_400031_400007_400101
You don't need to carry a lot of water bottles for during a IM or half IM race. They usually have aid stations at about every 10-20 miles increments during those races. However, you do need a lot of them for training though since you can go quite a few miles out in the back roads before you'll come across a gas station or convient store.
For repair supplies, one of those little bags that you see people have right underneith their seat should be enough to carry everything that you need to repair your bike (i.e., tools, tube, co2, repair kits, money, etc). A lot of folks carry stuff (food, pump, keys, phone) in their jersey pockets during IM and half IM races so that can also be utilized.
I have tried all sorts of hydration systems:
the standard setup of two bottles in cages inside the "triangle", a profile design aero bottle between the aerobars, a Hydro tail (similar to x-lab) and now use the Speedfil system which I am very happy with (it took a while to get the hose to run the way I wanted, I use electrical tape instead of the zip ties supplied).
I still use the Hydrotail as a bottle carrier for longer rides and could do a half with just the Speedfil plus two bottles on the hydrotail.
The pluses to just using bottles, wherever you mount them, is they're easy and familiar. The negative is you have to sit up to use them (not very aero).
The Speedfil and Profile Design system involves sucking up the fluid, which can be a challenge if you are out of breath, but at least you stay aero! Also the Speedfil has to be cleaned just like a Camelbak, which is a bit of a pain.
The Hydrotail/X-Lab do allow all sorts of mounting options for bottles, tubes, tires, tools, etc....
Nutrition - if you're using gels, tape them to the toptube. Anything bigger needs a bento box. I generally only use the pockets for trash, since I find the movement of anything heavier than a wrapper to be weird!
Hope this ramble helps!
1. Food: Bento Box
2. Fluids: front aero water bottle (I use Jetstream Nxt Aero which I think works better than the Profile model) + one cage on down tube
3. Small saddle bag for tubes, CO2, etc. (Good article: http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/features/flatkit.shtml)
if you prefer rear hydration to the aero cage, i have one of the beaker concepts rear hydration system that i can sell to you if you are interested. i have only used it twice. and i will include one profile design cage with it as well.
also, to reiterate what vatriathlete says, you will not really need these for a half IM race. i raced in rhode island and brought one bottle (attached to my seat tube). i decided that i'd rather have the weight advantage and not bring too much water, since there were so many aid stations along the way (every 15 miles). however, these do come in handy quite well when training for a half IM though - fyi.
also, taping your nutrition to your frame is better than having a little pack attached to your bike IMO as it is so much easier to get to.
Thanks to everybody who replied--great advice from this group, as always.
To those of you who offered to part with some of your hydration/food storage parts, let me take in all of the advice from folks, stew on it a bit more and then get back to you.
Thanks again, all.
Charlie, can you shoot me an email offline about that Beaker Concepts hydration system you mentioned you'd be willing to part with?
I'm at dixonm at executiveboard.com